The Teachings of Jesus - Mark's Perspective
by Wayne Childress 11/19/2013 / Bible Studies
We saw that much of the teachings of Jesus - from John's perspective - were focused on love and obedience, on continuing to love God by remaining obedient. We saw that much of the teachings of Jesus - from Matthew's perspective - continued to be focused on love and obedience - as well as works. In essence, obedience is one of our duties to God, works are one of our duties to our fellow man; and, all our duties are based on love. As we delve into the teachings of Jesus from Mark's perspective it should not be surprising to anyone to find a similarity between Mark and Matthew - that's why they are called synoptic.
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandment, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, you shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Mark's perspective again shows that our first duty is to love God, and our next duty is to love our fellow man. Mark continues to show us that Jesus stresses that obedience to the will of God is paramount and above all else:
For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
This means that obeying God and ignoring any and all "churches" and "doctrines" that contradict the commandments of God are essential for salvation. Do not let your fellowship with God be tainted by the teachings of "church doctrines":
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines the commandments of men.
And he said to them, full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.
The Pharisees, of which Paul was one (and Mark was his helper), didn't just add to God's commandments to burden the people, they also took away from what God commanded - just like many today. Jesus knew that false teachers would come and He warned us numerous times to avoid them. These teachers are rooted in Satan and Satan is not stupid. The wolf at the door may not look like a wolf - he may be a wolf in sheep's clothing. It is your responsibility to discern the difference and follow Jesus and not man; and, nothing can replace the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Mark, just like Matthew and John, records that Jesus stressed that only those enduring to the end will be saved. Mark still shows this even though his gospel account is much shorter and he left out a lot of important things - like the Sermon on the Mount, the "Lord's Prayer", etc. Mark tells us Jesus knew that this would not be easy. Jesus warned us that we would suffer in this world. Beware of any "church" or person that promises riches or material blessings in this world - their promises contradict the words of Jesus! Worse still are those that tie your amount of blessings to how much money you give them! Jesus tells us that He is bringing our reward with Him. True followers of Jesus have the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit to endure - not of the promises and prosperity of man.
And you shall be hated of all for my name's sake: but the ones enduring to the end, the same shall be saved.
After love and obedience to God, Mark shows us that Jesus also focused on the requirements concerning our love for others. How we practice this love towards others is crucial for our own forgiveness:
And when you stand praying, forgive if you have anything against any: that your Father which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses too. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
PLEASE read that verse again. No matter what anyone tells you always remember that Jesus Himself tells us that His sacrifice DOES NOT wash away all your sins - if you do not forgive others God will not forgive you! Jesus' words - not mine! It doesn't matter what Paul, or a pope, or anyone says - no man has authority to countermand the words of Jesus.
Sadly, for centuries, and even today, most so called "Christians" do not even follow the words of Jesus the Christ. Instead most follow the words of Paul, or the popes, or "tithe-to-me-and-God-will-make- you-rich" hucksters. Consider what Mark tells us Jesus said:
And Jesus looked round about, and said unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered again, and said unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel going through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to be entering into the kingdom of God.
If you have ever wondered why Jesus said this then consider what else Mark tells us Jesus said -about the widow with two mites:
And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called his disciples, and said unto them, Amen I am saying to you that this poor widow has cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, all her living.
Bearing the above in mind, Mark also tells us that Jesus said we would be tested:
For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
If you are "materially rich" then consider that your wealth may very well be a test to see if you will put your trust in the wealth of this world or give it back to God as the widow did. What does Mark tell us Jesus said to a man who said he obeyed all the commandments since his youth:
Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing you lack: go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross and follow me.
There is one more subject I will address that Mark says Jesus spoke of. This is a subject found in all four gospel accounts:
If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.
(Mark 4:23) and (Mark 7:16)
Jesus stressed this very often. Some folks pretty much stop at hearing without acting on what they have heard; but, Jesus warns us several times that even those that hear can be lost - if they do not act on what they have heard. We must hear and be fruitful - we must apply what Jesus tells us. Consider the parable of the sower:
And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard Satan comes immediately, and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
Notice that throughout Mark, and all the gospels, we must love and obey God, love and forgive others, and we must hear, endure, and bear fruit. Anyone who tells you belief without action is all that you need for salvation is ignoring what Jesus Himself tells us! Jesus' words - not mine.
Heaven and earth shall pass away; but, my words shall not pass away.
Jesus' words did not die on the cross with Him. Paul's "theory of grace" cannot and does not change what Jesus Himself tells us! Who will you listen to?
And when he had called the people, with his disciples too, he said to them, whoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Who do you follow?